I came across an article the other day that reminded me of the vulnerability of the Internet. Apparently, “vandals” in Arizona (and possibly other areas) cut underground cables and brought modern communications to a halt, blacking out everything from radio programming to 911 calls to ATMs.
I don’t anticipate that this type of activity will become widespread and I don’t think there should be unnecessary panic, but it should give us all pause as we consider what could happen in the case of an Internet interruption for perhaps an extended period of time. Of course, I also don’t want to delve into the many hacking episodes of recent days, when even ISIS was able to get into Department of Defense websites. That’s a different issue altogether!
No, cutting cables and cutting the Net could bring much more immediate, negative consequences that could impact the general population where the wires have been chopped. And, as you know, seniors will often be most radically affected by such disruptions.
Whether by an accident or malicious intent, the Net could go down for an hour, a day or a week. If it is stopping bank operations and 911 calls, consider these preparatory steps to make sure that you will not be in unnecessary danger:
- Keep some cash on hand in case of bank shutdowns due to Internet loss. Such communications burps will also result in cash registers being compromised. Cash will be accepted no matter what type of catastrophe falls.
- Keep food, fuel and water on hand in case of a Net stoppage. Perhaps you already do this if you live in an area with frequent power outages due to serious weather events.
- Acquire an emergency preparedness kit. Such kits are widely available, but you can build an excellent one by yourself as well.
- One step you might not have considered is to print out your various account statements every 2-3 months so that you have a fairly accurate record of what belongs to you, in case of inaccessibility to brokerage/banking records.
Again, no one is predicting that there will be a spree of cable cutters coming to a neighborhood near you, but the possibility of the Net being down for hours or days exists no matter where you live. Plan accordingly, and most importantly, be vigilant about your ability to prove that your hard-earned retirement savings did exist even if there is no online proof at a given time.
Protect your physical and financial well-being by following the steps above to ensure that you don’t miss a beat—or a dollar—if the Net disappears for a time..